Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Written Interview for Sunday Express (Gulf)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments:

Published on Sunday 7 October 1990; President Bush also contributed written replies.

Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 808
Themes: Foreign policy (USA), European Union (general), Foreign policy (International organizations), Conservatism, Defence (Gulf War, 1990-91)

Question, Sunday Express

How would you define the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom?


Britain and the United States share a common inheritance. As I said in New York last Monday, in receiving the Hans J. Morgenthau award, the Magna Carta of 1215AD is just as much the American inheritance as it is mine as an Englishwoman.

Four hundred years after Sir Walter Raleigh founded the first English-speaking settlement in North America. The United States remains the major bastion of liberty. Its constitution is the written symbol of freedom. And together we as nations defend that most precious heritage. As President Bush says, that is precisely what we are doing in the Gulf.

We in Britain also recognise that debt the free peoples of Europe - and now the emerging free peoples of Eastern Europe - owe to the United States. No nation in history has ever shouldered a greater burden - nor shouldered it more willingly or more generously.

I agree that our membership of the European Community has not diminished our close partnership. Rather, it has strengthened the relationship as a manifestly loyal ally staunch in the cause of liberty, working consistently within the Community for an open-minded, free trading outward-looking Europe.

Question, Sunday Express

Has that relationship been strengthened by strong Republican/Conservative governments over the last decade?


Well, they most certainly have done it no harm!

Throughout the Reagan years of close affinity and co-operation I regularly met Vice President Bush, as he then was, to discuss world issues whenever I went to the United States. And now, as President, Mr Bush and I have forged a close working relationship which is currently evidenced by our regular meetings and consultations during the Gulf crisis. [end p1]

I admire George Bush as a man who has given clear and decisive leadership to the world over Iraq's appalling treatment of Kuwait - and on other major international issues. Good personal relations at the top of course strengthen the bonds between our two countries. But the fact is that the special relationship is between peoples of shared heritage and ideals which stretch back over centuries.

Over the past decade there have been leaders who have worked hard to foster it. And that is how I am sure it is going to be in the future.

Question, Sunday Express

Do you have a similar vision of “the new order” in world affairs and what is it?


Yes. The reality is that Communism as the dominant creed over a substantial part of the globe has collapsed in abject failure far faster than, I know, George Bush and I ever expected. That presents us with a unique opportunity vastly to extend the bounds the true democracy, founded on a rule of law and free markets. Twelve months ago we never suspected that we might now be talking of freedom extending from the United States across Europe to beyond the Urals. But that is the prize within our reach.

I don't myself care to characterise this as a “new world order”; such language has a far too dictatorial a ring about it for such a momentous opportunity to advance the cause and experience of freedom. But I am sure, from our long talks together, George Bush and I see the opportunity through NATO, CSCE and the UN, to mention only some of the institutions, to make the world a more secure, safer and healthier place in which to live.

The first evidence of progress is the unprecedented unity of the UN Security Council over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Question, Sunday Express

How do you think the Gulf crisis will be resolved; do you believe that Saddam Hussein will withdraw from Kuwait; do you think it more likely that he will be overthrown or do you believe military action is inevitable?


Like President Bush I cannot predict how the Gulf crisis will be resolved. All I know it will be resolved in favour of international law and order as expressed in UN resolutions. [sic] That means Saddam Hussein leaving Kuwait on a one way ticket, never to return, and the legitimate Government restored. If he has any wisdom he [end p2] will depart now before international sanctions cripple the Iraqi economy already weakened by eight years' bloody war with Iran. Iraq would of course have to pay for the colossal damage to property which it has inflicted in Kuwait. And those accused of war crimes against life and limb should be brought to trial. I believe sanctions can achieve a solution in accordance with the United Nations Resolutions if they are applied rigorously and comprehensively. We retain military option [sic] in case we have to use it. Our Armed Forces have to be prepared to any contingenc!